Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Patience in the Season

we're wrapping presents at the counter.  Cole wants to choose the wrapping paper.  Chase wants to choose the ribbon.  Cole wants to choose the gift tag.

it take twice as long, because Cole wants to help me cut the paper, Chase is asking me "why" questions, and Cole wants to help by tearing off the pieces of tape. 

they are soaking up my attention, even if it's divided.  they are like glue, wanting to be near me.  they want to help.

decorating the Christmas tree was the same way.  an exercise in patience.  Chase hung seven ornaments on one branch, and looked up at me beaming.  Cole wanted to hear every story about every ornament, and find every ornament with his name on it.

baking is their very favorite.  they both love mixing, cracking eggs, pouring in the ingredients.  Cole painstakingly sounds out the words of the recipe that he knows - it takes forever, but its worth it, because he's so proud afterward.  it's messy and crazy and loud.  I have to remind them (and myself) to be patient for each of the steps.  but when we're all done and ready to deliver the bread to the neighbors, they walk with me - Cole running (why walk when you can run?) and Chase with his toddling steps, his hand thrust trustingly in mine - to the neighbors, and Cole declares, "The neighbors will love the bread we made!"

every step.  every bit of Christmas preparation.  every bit of ANY preparation.  it takes longer, more patience, more planning, more effort on my part.  some days, I'm frustrated.  can't I just once fully concentrate on a single activity at a time?  not have to corral littles and direct and pay extra attention and clean up extra messes? 

but then I remember how valuable this time spent with them is.  how I am modeling patience and grace for them, so they will in turn model it with each other and others.  and I remember what a privilege, what an absolute privilege it is that they WANT to be with me.  someday they won't want to talk to me, bake with me, decorate the tree, help.  and that day will arrive sooner if I'm impatient, rushed, frustrated, or controlling.  I want to teach them to be capable, confident, helpful young men - so I put forth the patience now.

more than it matters to have a perfectly decorated tree; to have flour spilled all over the floor; to have mismatched name tags and ribbon and wrapping paper; what matters most is their beautiful, helpful, loving hearts - and I'll use every ounce of patience I have to make sure their spirits aren't crushed.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Lights Trolley Ride

There is just no end to fun adventures to be had in our valley!  This year I discovered a trolley ride tour that goes around looking at Christmas lights.  It was SO fun - I'm positive this is going to become a yearly tradition!

Chase was absolutely enthralled the entire time! 

Isla loved the lights too!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Tree Hunting!

The seventh year in a row we've gone to cut down our Christmas tree!  The rain stopped just exactly long enough for us to pick out the best tree!

 Chase even helped with the saw this year :)

 The official start to the Christmas season! Let the holidays commence!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

French Braid

      There's a mental list I have of all the incredibly exciting things I can't wait to do with Isla.  French braiding her hair is one of them - I love braiding hair, and it was one of my favorite memories of growing up, French braiding my mom's hair every morning. 

     Last month, I managed to slip in a little French braid in Isla's hair.  I could have died happy - I foresee many more fun braiding escapades in our mother-daughter future!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Letters to Santa

This week we wrote our annual letters to Santa!  I love seeing what each child asks for.

Chase is deep in thought!

Cole originally wanted a fire station Lego set, but changed to any sort of Lego set.  "Mom, I want to make it easier on Santa, so it's ok if he just brings me any Lego set.  I like whatever."

I have a feeling Santa will bring them what they asked for!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Isla's First Christmas

This will be Isla's first Christmas - I'm SO excited!

Saturday, December 10, 2016


For the first time ever, we had ALL our kids willingly sit on Santa's lap!

No tears! No stuffies! No sad scared faces!  Chase was SO excited, he literally ran into Santa's arms.  Cole was nervous, but Chase's bravery was contagious :)  I can hardly believe sometimes that these two are related, they are such individuals! And Isla was a total rock star, sweet as pie.

It was worth the 6 year wait!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Picture Perfect

"Mom! Come take a picture of us, Mom! We look so cute!"

Yes, yes you do!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Water Fountain

Older brothers will give you a boost for the water fountain.

And they'll also laugh hysterically with you when the water squirts you in the face.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fall Leaves

Fall is my favorite around here.  I love the leaves changing, the golden sunlight - and I love these faces the most!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My daughter.

I never could have imagined we'd have a baby who fit into our family so perfectly, so smoothly, and so easily.

This darling girl is sweet, gentle, and peaceful as can be.

She's an amazing sleeper - quick to fall asleep on her own in her crib, and sleeping at long stretches at a time.

She nurses like there's no tomorrow, and always has.

She is easygoing and happy to no end.  She loves her family, her books, and sucking on her two first fingers.

Even though it's only been six months, I cannot imagine life without this sweet, darling baby! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mint Tea

he'd been saving his pennies for weeks

patiently hoarding his coins, counting and re-counting to see if he had enough money

he wanted a mint tea with honey, from the school Snack Shack.

he tried to buy one two weeks in, but didn't have enough money.

"I need two dollars to buy the mint tea, Mom." he told me.

"Maybe tomorrow I'll have enough."

"How much money does the tooth fairy bring me for my tooth?  I'm saving for my mint tea."

finally, the day Gram sent him a card with a dollar bill tucked neatly inside, he had enough money.

the joy on his face was ridiculous when he discovered he had two dollars for his mint tea.

off he went to school, "Bye Mom! I'll have a great day because today I get to have my tea!"

when he came home, I asked him about it: "How was your much-anticipated mint tea?"

"Well," he said, "I was on my way to the snack shack to get it... and I saw my friend Ben.  He didn't have any money for the snack shack, so I gave him one of my dollars and we both got bagels."

"You didn't get your tea?"

"Nope. But Ben and I got bagels because they were only a dollar and we could each have one."

he saved for weeks, anticipated his treat... and the day he was finally going to have it, he shared his money with a friend.  he didn't boast or brag or even quite realize how generous it was of him.  to him, it was a simple statement of fact: he could share with a friend, and so he did. as natural as breathing.

I never knew I could be so proud of my son.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our Hogwarts family!

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hedwig the Owl, Professor Dumbledore, and Professor McGonagall.

 Trick or treating with some of our closest friends - so great!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Carving

Cole was SO excited to carve his pumpkin this year!  He's at the age where he can vividly remember each year's traditions, which helps him anticipate them.

He still was absolutely grossed out by the guts, however - but once I scraped the inside clean, he went to town with his characteristic determination and focus!

 Always the tongue out when he's concentrating!

 Chase also was completely unimpressed and disgusted with the guts!  He sat with me and we drew out the face together according to his specifications.  Two triangle eyes and a scared face mouth like an oval!

 This is what his pumpkin's face looks like:

 "It's my best one yet." Cole matter-of-factly and modestly declared.  "The mouth is a little wide, but that's ok."

The eyebrows are my favorite part! I love this time of year with my amazing and fun boys!
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